- Your details of Italy feel so real, have you ever been?
I love Italy, and I’ve been lucky enough to have spent a great deal of time in Italy traveling around. I believe in a previous life I lived there. I love the music, the food, the country, the people, and Italy’s history. To quote that famous Italian song by the great Italian singer Toto Cutugnio, “Sono l’italiano. Un italiano vero”, which means “I am the Italian. A real Italian.
- There’s always a ton of food mentioned in the books that sound amazing, would you consider writing a cookbook to pair with the series?
What a great idea! I would love to do that. I love to cook, and I pride myself on being a gourmet cook. If I could, I’d eat pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I would die a happy woman! Prepare for more delectable food in The Girl Who Adored Rembrandt.
- If someone wants to learn more about Rembrandt’s history, where would you suggest they start?
It’s a tall order, but I read from cover-to-cover Simon Schama’s definitive study titled Rembrandt’s Eyes. All seven-hundred-and-two pages of this masterful, epic journey about Rembrandt’s life and his prodigious artistic output is spellbinding.
- How many books do you plan on including in the series?
How many interesting artists are there? There will be more, but I will be taking a detour after Book 4 in the Out of Time Thriller Series. I have an idea for another series where I will revisit the life of Leonardo da Vinci. I’m so fascinated by him and his genius on so many levels. Although I’d love to share what I have in mind with you, I’d prefer to just tease you with the morsel that no one has written on this particular aspect about his life. This book will give me a chance to elaborate more on the man and who he was as a person.
- If the books were made into a movie, who do you think would play Rembrandt?
I think Edward Norton could fill the bill. He’s a great actor, and he looks somewhat like a younger Rembrandt. Or maybe Colin Firth? Every movie is better with Colin Firth in it. I think Emilia Clarke would be a perfect casting for Cornelia van Rijn Suythof, Rembrandt’s daughter.
- How do you decide which artist will be the center of the book?
I’ve been collecting news articles about the art world for years. And I am always finding some fascinating tidbit in the news about lost or stolen works of art. I also search for artists whose lives are dramatic or unusual. I haven’t wandered outside of the Renaissance or the Baroque period, because I love those periods they brought us out if the darkness of the Middle Ages. Such a powerful time for art and culture and ideas. But I also feel the pull to explore other time periods in art. We’ll see where the paint brush takes me!
- How do you decide how much history to include in the story?
There’s a delicate balance between the history, the romance, and the thriller aspects of my books. In The Girl Who Knew da Vinci, I received criticism that there wasn’t enough history and not enough da Vinci. But if I deliver too much, it slows the pace and becomes dull. I was an art history major in college, so I have had a life-long appreciation for history. For me, history is never boring, but many readers can only digest small doses of it. When I start writing my first draft, I weave a lot of historical detail and then it gets whittled down in the editing process because you can’t sacrifice the story in favor of fitting in all the delicious historical details you find. That’s the kind of thing I can do in blog posts and newsletters for my readers. Sharing those lovely little bits of historical details that I come across.
- Did you always intend to write novels?
Yes, but life got in the way. I married had children and devoted myself to the role of wife and mother. But in 2008, I felt compelled to write my mother’s story. In 2010 I published my first book. It is a young adult and a biographical novel based on my mother’s survival of the Holocaust. The story is told in my mother’s voice as the events unfold. It begins in the last months before the war, and continues through her harrowing experiences during the war, and then follows her journey after the war. Even though there are many tragedies in the book, it is an uplifting story because it exemplifies the endurance of the human spirit and the triumph of good over evil. It’s written under my real name and titled In the Face of Evil. Given the state of our world and the rise of anti-Semitism, I think it’s important to never forget the Holocaust. In the Face of Evil was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist and set me on my path. Since the heroine is my amazing mother, it holds a special place in my heart. I plan on revising it and re-releasing it in 2021.
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I’m getting faster! 2020 has been a prolific year for me. By the end of this year, I’ll have eight titles out, but that’s an unusually high output for me. I took three books back from a small publisher and completely rewrote them. I had them edited again and refreshed with fabulous new beautifully designed book covers, and the books were newly formatted. That’s my Tip of the Spear espionage thriller series, which includes Escape, Vengeance, and Ransom. I’m just finishing up the fourth book in the series, Exposed, and I hope to release it before Christmas. The Girl Who Adored Rembrandt in my Out of Time Thriller Series (Book 3) will be out September 1st. I’m also getting ready to publish a serial series. The Blue Coat Series. Three shorter books that are all connected to one main storyline and follows the same characters throughout the three books. In this series, I’ve returned to World War II and the present day with a dual timeline. It’s a thriller and a love story—actually two love stories. It takes place in Paris, Auschwitz, Brooklyn, and London, and yes, in case you’re wondering, I managed to add in some wonderful food descriptions too. And you better have a box of tissues ready because there are some definite emotional scenes.
I have a lot more ideas for series that I want to develop in the next few years. I’m definitely shifting into more historical fiction stories with passionate romantic stories, but the main story will be their journeys of discovery. I love multiple timelines as well and will definitely keep exploring that in my future books.
- Are Alex and Angela based on real people like the artists?
Alex is my dream man. Funny, educated, reliable, and not hard to look at. He’s a gourmet chef, at times nerdy, at times vulnerable from his PTSD and his tours of service as a Navy SEAL. He’s wealthy, which never hurts, and is madly in love with Angela. He was slow to accept the concept of reincarnation and Angela’s psychic gift, and he often has trouble dealing with his own past lives and the fact that he and Angela have loved and lost each other in many lifetimes. Just like Angela, he’s determined to hold onto her in this life, and he knows that Angela is his soulmate. If he exists, please point him in my direction. Or maybe we can clone him? For the sake of humankind, of course.